Over 65 members of the Mayors Against LGBTQ Discrimination, who represent more than 21 million constituents, have joined thousands of other Americans in submitting a public comment and letter opposing a proposed federal rule attempting to undermine the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Equal Access Rule, which ensures protections for LGBTQ people seeking federal housing and safe shelter.
Earlier this summer, the federal administration announced a proposed rule that would gut protections for transgender people by removing critical equal access protections meant to ensure the safety of anyone in need of HUD-funded programs, including transgender people seeking to access homeless shelters consistent with their gender identity. By allowing shelters to consider factors such as religious beliefs and sex stereotypes in determining whether or not to house a transgender person, the administration is attempting to create a right to discriminate for taxpayer-funded shelters. This is especially dangerous as America continues to confront COVID-19, as the consequences of being turned away from a shelter can be dire.
The letter — which was coordinated by the National Center for Transgender Equality — reads, in part:
“As leaders of boroughs, towns, and cities, we oppose rule changes that will impede our ability to protect our constituents and provide necessary shelter. … Discrimination is never okay, but this proposal is particularly dangerous as our nation continues to struggle to suppress a national and global health crisis that has cost the lives of over 180,000 people across this nation. … As the death toll continues to rise, we know firsthand how this pandemic has overburdened our social and medical systems and impacted our constituents, many of whom may not have access to stable housing. … For transgender people, increasing barriers to health care and health care coverage is especially harmful during this public health crisis.”
Mayors Against LGBTQ Discrimination is a national bipartisan coalition of more than 400 municipal leaders dedicated to securing inclusive nondiscrimination protections for all Americans, including LGBTQ people, at all levels of government.